[whatwg] Correcting some misconceptions about Responsive Images

Jonas Sicking jonas at sicking.cc
Wed May 16 13:51:02 PDT 2012

On Wed, May 16, 2012 at 12:13 AM, Tab Atkins Jr. <jackalmage at gmail.com> wrote:
> I've been doing a lot of work today correcting misconceptions about
> the Responsive Images proposal that Hixie put into the spec today.  I
> was pretty astonished at how much misinformation was flying around;
> what's worse, this sort of misinformation was actually making people
> *angry*, which doesn't exactly make people willing to calmly listen to
> corrections.  So, hopefully this email finds everyone in calmer moods,
> so we can get everyone on the same page.
> 1. "The Responsive Images CG was completely ignored." I keep hearing
> this, and it's pretty annoying.  The responsive images thing is a
> complete success story by any objective account: some people initially
> brought up an idea, it was rejected, they went away for a bit and
> developed the use-cases more fully, the idea was accepted and made it
> into the spec.  That's *precisely* how the process should work -
> everything came up roses here. The CG's work on elucidating use-cases
> better was *invaluable* here.
> The current solution in the spec isn't precisely the same as what the
> CG proposed.  That's perfectly normal; the CG wasn't paying attention
> to an important use-case (they either weren't paying attention to
> resolution, or thought that device-pixel-ratio or a hypothetical
> bandwidth media query would suffice, neither of which is true).  If
> this sort of thing disillusions you, stay away from standards. ^_^
> Having your ideas mutated into forms you didn't anticipate is
> commonplace, as others point out cases you missed and suggest easier
> or more elegant variants.  It's probably good to learn early if you're
> not cool with this sort of thing - a *lot* of people don't have the
> right kind of patience to suffer through standards work.

I haven't been part of the discussion neither in the CG or in here, so
I won't express strong opinions since I can very easily have
misunderstood things.

However, it seems to me that if a lot of discussion had happened in
the CG, especially with a lot of expertize there around what authors
want, then why put a proposal that goes against theirs into the HTML
spec and announce this on the whatwg list?

If their proposal wasn't deemed good enough, then the most appropriate
action would seem to be engage in discussion in that CG and point out
why their proposal is problematic! Simply reading their input and
putting a different proposal into the spec is remeniscent of how
various W3C groups work where they take input on their public list,
then discuss amongst themselves on a private list and put what they
thought was the best solution into the spec. That behavior has led to
plenty of bad specifications and is something we've campaigned heavily
against. Instead we've requested that all discussions happen on the
same list so that everyone can participate.

(The difference that the w3c lists were private is not really a
meaningful difference if we're telling people to join CGs and do
development there).

Apologies if this did actually happen and I missed it.

/ Jonas

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